In their natural state most Conservatives weren’t all that interested in politics because unlike Left-Wing Liberals, they don’t have to win elections in order to eat. Or depend upon government subsidies or budgets. But over years issues intrude. And accumulate. Then achieve critical mass.
Abortion, removal of prayer from schools, crèche scenes from village squares, attacks on the pledge of allegiance, sex education, school busing, declining educational standards, history textbooks with founding fathers purged from them or which exalt other cultures, attacks on the Second Amendment, English as a second language, Ebonics and eugenics, government validation of the homosexual lifestyle, racial quotas not to mention out of control spending, a growing culture of dependence and government mandate light bulbs and government redesigned toilet bowls.
And so more and more Conservatives began to think that they had to get into this game and win it.
Aside from economic Conservatives the first big block to weigh in were Evangelicals and the shock and alarm with which the Left-Wing Liberals greeted their arrival was pretty amusing. Ralph Reed with his voter guide being passed out in thousands of churches was a dagger aimed at the upper east side of Manhattan, the harbinger, according to the New York Times, of Nazi storm trooper legions goose-stepping in from fly-over country. A reaction we saw repeated when the TEA seemed to spring up out of nowhere twenty years later.
The list of Conservative victories of the intervening decades was substantial, Reagan of course, but also the 1994 Gingrich Revolution, 2010, the overthrow of the Soviet Union, isolated elections like Scott Brown into Ted Kennedy’s old seat, the pretty thorough defeat of Federal Gun Control, the reestablishment of the death penalty and the increase in prison population which ever since the 1960s has been reducing the murder rate.
But to be honest Conservative engagement in politics cannot be described as a mixed as much as it can a mostly empty bag. School busing has been defeated but the only prayers being said in public schools today are for the humiliation of the United States and the destruction of whatever remains of academic standards. Gay marriage has obtained a secure foothold in many states, abortion continues up until the ninth month with the partial birth horror, indeed the few babies which survive it are left to die while Obamacare, which the majority of Americans oppose and still oppose has been riveted upon America’s back and will destroy American medicine as surely as the Federal Government’s regulation destroyed shipbuilding and the shipping industry, railroads, community banking (in the entrepreneurial sense), mining, the housing market, the employment market, coal power generations (175 plants now slated to close), general manufacturing and certain types of farming. The list is endless. Meanwhile Administration by Administration the reach and size of Government continues to balloon as the government strives to regulate every facet of everyone’s. While of course piling up trillions in unsustainable debt.
And so Conservatives have now divided into two camps. Those that want to pack it in and those who hope upon hope that reason will finally prevail.
The opposing rationales are wonderfully summed up in two recent American Opinion pieces.
In favor of withdrawal Selwyn Duke makes a very persuasive argument in Conservatives Rationalize as America Circles the Drain onDecember 19, 2012 when he arguess that the fundamental question all of us “healthy acorns” have to put to ourselves is whether or not there’s any point in “… trying to fertilize a tree destined for the sawmill.” The politics he explains, reflects the culture, the culture has been captured “and there is no way to democratically reclaim” it.
Then in Cocooning Is the Wrong Solution for Conservatives, January 7, 2012James G. Wiles makes a compelling case for continued Conservative involvement in the political process. Conservatives cannot, as he points out, withdraw to some new Canaan. There is no wilderness to retreat to, America is the only game in town. Besides we have the facts on our side and facts will inevitably triumph.
Powerful arguments, but I wonder if they aren’t both wrong and right at the same time.
As Mr. Duke points out the culture has been captured “and there is no way to democratically reclaim” but so what? Because what culture anywhere, has ever been established democratically? And while Mr. Wiles’ point that facts will triumph is obviously true, a blind man can see that it will triumph by crashing the current unsustainable system not by changing the public’s mind about anything important.
Indeed the crash itself will not change the public’s mind about anything because they are not going to step outside the culture that has been established. So since American cannot be reclaimed through the ballot box, not through the presentation of facts why isn’t it more evident we have to change the culture through other means?
I believe because we’re so caught up in the details: the “facts” of various issues, polls, elections, court decisions, the face of changing demographics, that we’ve lost sight of how the game of America should be played.
More or less like a guy I know who was all about baseball. He played Little League as a kid, then Babe Ruth, got married but kept watching Big League on TV, would drive two hours to cheer in the stands, smacked a three foot high Yankee logo on the back window of his SUV, endlessly studied statistics to the point where he’d call sports talks to correct someone about who started in the 1922 World Series or Lou Gehrig’s minor league career hits. Then one day he was sitting all alone in his TV room littered with blown up pictures of baseball stars and memorabilia waiting for another game to start on his super wide screen with surround sound when he remembered something. That his wife was out and he was supposed to be watching their young son. So he went looking and found the boy all alone playing a video game in his darkened bedroom.
Staring at that sad lonely silhouette he suddenly realized what his own fixation was costing him. That what he had been doing and how he was treating his own son wasn’t either what baseball or his family life was really about. That baseball was supposed to played not obsessed over.
So he rummaged in a closet found a couple of gloves and a ball and routed his son off his bed announcing that “we’re going to the park to throw a ball around. And later was reduced to tears by his son’s shouts and laughter when he scooped up his first grounder.
And that’s about where Conservatives are today, obsessing not playing the game and that’s why they’re losing everything important. We have to start playing America the way the game is designed to be played.
More to come.